Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/194

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

yoke of an ox. To ease the labour of the animal as much as possible, he is made to go along a direct path down a slope; and to prevent his deviating from it, the lateral ring of his collar runs upon a rope one end of which is fastened to one of the posts mentioned above, and the other to a stake fixed at the farther end of the path. Thus when the ox draws, the slope naturally hurries him along, and the vessel full of water is raised with much less exertion of strength than would otherwise be required.

The buckets are no other than large skins, the mouth of which is held open by a wooden hoop with two cross-bars. They are used of two shapes: some being formed almost like a funnel, terminating in a curved tube closed by a cock; the others resembling a large tub: but the use of the former requires a second contrivance, consisting of two upright posts and a cylinder on an axis, placed over a reservoir situated near the well. A cord fastened to the end of the tube winds round this small cylinder, passes over the larger, and is tied to the collar of the ox: the purpose of this cord is to draw the skin filled with water out of the well, to be emptied by the tube into the reservoir.

In spots more favoured by nature, situated at the foot of snow-covered mountains, the industry of the Persian is successfully exerted. In the defiles of the mountains, wherever the situation permits, the snow-water and rain-water are detained by walls, and when their quantity is sufficient to form streams, channels are dug by which they may be drawn off.

The ploughing is performed by means of a share drawn by two oxen, harnessed not by the horns, but to a yoke that passes over the chest. This share is very short, and its coulter but slightly cuts the ground.

As the furrows are made, the clods are broken with large wooden beaters, and the surface is smoothed with the spade and a harrow that has very small teeth. Thus prepared, the ground, divided into squares, looks like garden-beds, with borders a foot or more in height, according to the quantity of water required for irrigating it.

The sickle used in Persia is unlike ours, being scarcely bent in the blade. Threshing is performed by a machine composed of a large square wooden frame, which contains two cylinders, placed parallel to each other, and having a rotatory motion. They are stuck full of spikes with sharp square points, but not all of a length. These rollers have the appearance of the barrel of an organ, and their projections, when brought in contact with the corn, break the stalk and disengage the ear. They are put in motion by a couple of cows or oxen yoked to the frame, and guided by a man sitting on the plank that covers the frame which